BN2008 News

Revelations About Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Bring Scorn as Former Top Deputy Accuses Anwar of 'Deceiving' Chinese and Indian Communities

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ots/PRNewswire) - - Former Anwar aide breaks silence to accuse him of "playing dangerous games" on sensitive ethnic issues - Ruling coalition party BN says "issues of race and religion in Malaysia require dedication and honesty, not deceit" Responding to fresh allegations that Malaysia's self-styled "Opposition leader" Anwar Ibrahim was being deceitful and playing dangerous games in his apparent embrace of the country's Indian and Chinese ethnic communities, a spokesman for the governing coalition party Barisan Nasional (National Front) warned that "issues of race and religion in Malaysia require dedication and honesty, not deceit." "Maintaining the unity of Malaysia's people, regardless of their race or religion, is too important for political game playing," the BN spokesman said in a statement Tuesday, following revelations by Professor Chandra Muzaffar, a former Deputy President of Anwar's party. "These revelations by Anwar's former deputy demonstrate why he cannot be trusted to stand up for minority communities in Malaysia, irrespective of his claims to the contrary," added Reezal Merican, a BN party spokesman. Anwar, who cannot stand for Parliament until April due to a previous corruption conviction, has forged an electoral alliance between his own small Peoples' Justice Party, the much larger hardline Islamist PAS party and DAP, a socialist leaning party. He has repeatedly accused the ruling coalition of ignoring the rights of Chinese and Indian minorities, but Dr. Chandra Muzaffar said this was "a totally different image" from the Anwar Ibrahim he had worked closely with "and it is sad that a lot of non-Malays believe this man." Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, whose own National Front coalition contains 14 different parties covering the full range of Malaysia's multicultural society, has termed Anwar's current electoral alliance "a coalition of convenience." Dr. Muzaffar, a respected academic and former politician who had previously refused to comment on why he resigned from Anwar's party in 2005, said on Monday: "I am prepared to go on the record now so that people will not be deceived." In surprise remarks delivered during a debate here, The Star-Asian Centre for Media Studies Public Forum, Dr Muzaffar said voters were being deceived by Anwar's promise to eliminate affirmative action quotas for Malayans and in his electoral stance as a champion of multi-ethnic equality. Dr Chandra cited a number of examples from Anwar's hardline past. He said that Anwar threatened "he would make sure the [Hindu] temple bells would not ring in the country any more," when dealing with a 1998 clash between Hindus and Indian Muslims in Penang. Dr Chandra added that when Anwar served as education minister Anwar "was responsible for putting non-Chinese educated administrators into Chinese schools." Anwar also took a ultra-nationalist stance in deciding to change the nomenclature of the national language from Bahasa Malaysia (language of Malaysia) into Bahasa Melayu (language of the Malays) which Dr Chandra asserts set back national integration efforts. The government reverted to the use of Bahasa Malaysia last year. As a result of his analysis Prof Dr Chandra said of his former party chief, Anwar: "If Anwar Ibrahim becomes the prime minister it will be an unmitigated disaster for Malaysia." The spokesman for the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Badawi reacted to the comments by saying, "the Prime Minister has warned in these elections that those who are prepared to use division and disunity for their own political ends will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Clearly this includes saying anything to win votes. Dr Chandra's comments simply prove our point." "Where there are understandable concerns amongst any of the religious or ethnic minorities in Malaysia they need to be listened to with dedication and addressed with determination. This is the proven approach of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi," the spokesman said. "By contrast Dr Chandra's revelations show that the opposition "actually want to encourage discontent, not resolve it. They want to increase ethnic and religious tensions, not decrease them; and they want to divide Malaysians along religious and ethnic lines, not unite the country to face the challenges of the future." "It seems from these remarks that some of Mr. Badawi's opponents are even prepared to say one thing to one community and another to others in an increasingly desperate attempt to win votes in these elections." "Malaysians - regardless of their race or creed - will not fall for these tricks and opportunism played out at their expense," the spokesman said. Dr Chandra himself said that the most important quality of a leader in a multi-ethnic country was honesty and when a leader spoke on sensitive ethnic issues he needed to say the same thing to non-Malays as he said to Malays. "You cannot play games because it is very dangerous," he concluded. ots Originaltext: BN2008 News Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch Contact: Chong Sin Woon, BN2008, +6019 382 8461, campaignupdates@BN2008.org.my

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